The Backbone of Your Health: What to Expect at Your First Chiropractic Appointment


There are over 70,000 chiropractors in the United States right now. 

But even with so many options, actually setting up your first chiropractic appointment can be hard. You have to find the time, and you have to work up the courage. 

Don’t let your concerns get in the way of your health. We’ve put together this guide to show you what to expect during your first appointment. 

So let’s get started! 

Signs You Need to Visit a Chiropractor 

You may not even realize you need to visit a chiropractor. The signs aren’t always as obvious as lower back pain. 

As a general rule, you should head to the chiropractor if you’re dealing with pain that won’t go away or if you’ve recently been involved in some type of accident, such as a car crash. 

But there are a few other, more surprising reasons to visit a chiropractor, including: 

  • Poor posture (especially if you sit at a desk all day)
  • Limited range of motion
  • The soles of your shoes wear out at different speeds
  • Joint pain
  • You have a lot of headaches 

Even if you don’t have any of these signs, visiting a chiropractor is still a good idea. They’ll be able to catch problems before they get serious and will give you a healthier lifestyle. 

What to Expect During Your First Chiropractic Appointment

Many people are intimidated by their local chiropractic office. But the process isn’t as scary as those loud cracks make it seem. 

In fact, it usually feels good. 

Here’s what to expect during your first chiropractic appointment.  

Patient History 

Your first chiropractic appointment will start the same way as a traditional visit to the doctor. You know what that means…

Filling out a lot of paperwork. 

But don’t get frustrated. This paperwork is important. It gives your chiropractor important information about your health history. Without this information, they won’t be able to diagnose you properly. 

After you finish the paperwork, the chiropractor will ask you more questions about your symptoms. Some of these questions might include:

  • When did the pain start and how?
  • Where is the pain?
  • Can you describe the pain?
  • Do certain activities make the pain worse (or better)?

Your chiropractor might draw marks on your body as you talk about your pain to help them pinpoint the exact area. Be as descriptive as possible during this section.

Chiropractic Exam 

Once they know what hurts and where, your chiropractor will do a quick physical exam. They will focus the exam on your problem areas, such as your neck or back, but they will also look over your entire body. 

Be prepared to move. 

Your chiropractor will want to test your range of motion, so they might ask you to bend over or walking back and forth across the room. They’ll also check the following things: 

  • Blood pressure 
  • Respiration
  • Reflexes 
  • Pulse
  • Muscle tone
  • Muscle strength

In some cases, your chiropractor may also have to perform a few diagnostic studies. They might order an X-ray or MRI of the problem area before they go any farther. 

But this isn’t common. Most of the time, your chiropractor can give you a diagnosis without these extra tests. 


Your chiropractor should now be able to give you a diagnosis. They’ll be able to give you more detail about your condition and whether or not it will respond to chiropractic care (which is almost always will). 

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. 

Your chiropractor should spend time going over your diagnosis and what it means for your health. 

Treatment Plan 

Once you know your diagnosis, your chiropractor will come up with a treatment plan. This plan will be tailored to your personal health. 

Because of this, it’s hard to say what your treatment plan will look like. You may feel better after three visits, or you may need to visit your chiropractor every other week for months. 

It all depends on your needs. 

First Adjustment 

It’s a good idea to get your first adjustment during your first chiropractic appointment. This will give you at least some relief right away. 

But it depends on your treatment plan. 

Your chiropractor might recommend waiting until the next visit. If you don’t get an adjustment during your first appointment, don’t worry. Your chiropractor knows what type of treatment plan will work best for your needs. 

Head home and do some additional research on your diagnosis (if you want). 

If you’re in a lot of pain, let your chiropractor know. They may decide to do an adjustment right away after all. 

Follow up Treatment 

At this point, your first appointment is over. But before you leave, you’ll need to schedule appointments for your follow up treatment. 

Make sure you follow your chiropractor’s recommendation. 

If they say you need one appointment a week for the next month, do your best to find the time in your busy schedule. Missing even one appointment can throw off the rest of your treatment plan. 

Getting Ready for Your First Chiropractic Appointment

Don’t let your first chiropractic appointment intimidate you. Your chiropractor won’t do anything that’ll make you uncomfortable, and the cracks don’t hurt. 

Visiting your chiropractor can give you relief from pain you’ve been carrying around for years. You might not even realize how bad you had it until you start getting adjustments. 

So pick up the phone and schedule that first appointment today! 

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